RFI Florida and Everglades

Subject: RFI Florida and Everglades
From: Katrina Knight <>
Date: Sat, 22 Aug 2009 21:23:58 -0400
At 08:22 PM 08/22/2009 scott butcher wrote:
I am planning on heading to the Florida from September 27 till October 8 and want to make it a productive birding trip. Does any one have advice on what conditions may be like at this time of year.

Late September/early October is still going to be on the warm side in south Florida, but probably not unbearably hot like it would be now. You do need to be aware of the possibility of there being a hurricane. They'll close Everglades National Park in advance of any hurricane that may threaten to come through.

I would also appreciate if anyone is aware of good locations for some florida specialties, Snail Kite, Roseate Spoonbill etc and advice on the most useful field guide for the state.

There are two location guides that are worth having. The first is the American Birding Association's _A Birder's Guide to Florida_ by Bill Pranty. The third edition is the current one. The other is _Birding Florida_ by Brian Rapoza. It is a little newer than Pranty's book but doesn't cover as many places. Both have good sites mentioned that aren't in the other. Rapoza's book can probably be found by walking into a big chain bookstore once you get there. Pranty's book would be best ordered in advance if you can. Otherwise you'll need to look for a store that sells birding stuff as opposed to a store that sells books in general. I think the bookstore in Everglades National Park had it the last time I was there, but I wouldn't want to be definite about that.

For current sightings of birds in south Florida, check Tropical Audubon's website - <>. The people there should be able to help you with current locations for the birds you're interested in. You could also choose to subscribe to the Florida Birds mailing list. or even just read through the archives - <>.

In general, Snail Kites are usually findable along the Tamiami Trail (which is a road, not a hiking trail) west of Miami. Near the Miccosukee store is the traditional spot for them, but I've almost always had good luck at the first place where you can cross the canal and park too. Where the spoonbills will be is dependent on water levels.

Any advice on good cheap accommodation close to some of these birding sites would also be appreciated.

"Cheap" can be hard to come by in Florida. If you're going to the Everglades, you'll probably want to stay in Florida City or Homestead. I've stayed at the Travelodge in Florida City on more than one occasion and their price has been as good or better than any of the other hotels that are above the hole-in-the-wall, no services type and the people their have provided decent service. I've also stayed at a hole-in-the-wall motel on Krome Avenue in Homestead called the Everglades Motel. It doesn't have a lot to recommend it other than being less expensive, but it is considerably less expensive. If you're going to go down to Key West, the best place I've found to stay down there is the El Rancho Motel on Truman Avenue.

Katrina Knight

Reading, PA, USA


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